Forget San Francisco, Norma Lewis left pieces of her heart in Alaska. No cruises or packaged tours for her, she prefers experiencing the state independently via ferry, mail plane, rental car, train, motor-home, bush plane, and an occasional bus. In 2014 she was Jason Mackey’s IditaRider. Many of her Alaska adventures have ended up as magazine articles, though now she is focusing on books.

When asked why she doesn’t move to Alaska, she says there are six compelling reasons—the kids who call her Grandma. To be fair, she loves Michigan too, and has written six books on Michigan history and has just contracted to do a seventh that will be released in 2017. She loves doing historical research, not so much the dry facts, but rather the quirky. According to her, history isn’t dates and wars and documents, it’s people and how they reacted to the events that unfolded around them.

Norma now calls Grand Haven, Michigan, home and shares her house with a marmalade cat she named Scalawag for reasons too numerous to list.